I earned my Bachelor of Law from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, which was founded by Methodist missionaries in the 19th century. And having been brought up in a Buddhist family, with influences of Shintoism as well, I was not a Christian.” said the Rev. Nako Kellum at “Transformed! the Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Fourth Global Gathering” at Asbury United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday, November 9, 2019. “I knew about Jesus from my world history classes in high school. I knew about Jesus, but I did not know Jesus.”
“I knew about God, too. Actually, I knew about a lot of “gods.” I prayed to and gave offerings to my ancestors, whom we believed achieved a god-like status after death,” added Kellum, co-pastor at Tarpon Methodist Church in Tarpon Springs, Florida. “I went to Shinto shrines, and prayed to and gave money to many gods, for Shintoism, as you may know, is an indigenous animistic religion of Japan.”
“Consequently, I understand how people were confused about who Jesus was, and why the Nicene Creed was written. At that time, there was a pantheon of Roman and Greek gods in the culture, just like there are a plethora of gods in Japan, but none of them were like Jesus,” continued Kellum as she shared her journey to proclaiming Christ as her Lord. “He is ‘God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.’ ‘Through him, all things,’ including you and me, ‘were made,’ and ‘for us and for our salvation he came down from heaven.’ No other ‘god’ did that for you and me.”
“The second half of John 15:14, after Jesus says, ‘You are my friends,’ reads, ‘if you do what I command you,’” Kellum said. “When we confess in the Apostle’s Creed, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,’ we are confessing that Jesus is more than our friend, Jesus is Lord and ‘sits at the right hand of the Father.’ He is above all ‘gods,’ all rulers, all governments, all churches, all people, all created things…everything we like, love, and cherish. We are called to put ourselves under His authority, and to be loyal to Him, and Him alone. Jesus is Lord.”
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